My birthday is tomorrow! In order to celebrate, I decided we go to the Bandwagon Brewpub in downtown Ithaca for dinner.
Cornell’s policy is to use local grass-fed beef in their food. This was my first time eating local beef off-campus; the fact that Bandwagon uses local meat definitely factored into my decision to pick this place for a celebratory dinner venue.
I think I can truthfully say this was probably the best burger I have ever eaten in Ithaca. That is saying something because Ithaca Ale House and Ruloff’s also have very good burgers. I think the fact that local grass-fed beef was used to make the patty made all the difference. I normally order my burgers cooked medium, but I decided to go medium-rare tonight. That may have biased my opinion; the medium-rare cooking led to my burger being a lot jucier. The burger was also topped with cheese, mustard, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and onion. However, I think I would actually have been happy just eating the patty in a bun because the patty was as good as it was.
The main thing the meal had against it was the french fries. They were a little salty for my liking. The ketchup helped, but I think the Ale House wins in terms of French Fries. I personally would recommend opting for the side salad for a side instead of the fries.
The Bandwagon Brewpub also brews its own beer. I opted for the Pedro’s Pale Ale. It was a rather random choice, but I thought it complemented the burger very nicely. I would like to come back one day and try other brews they had because Pedro’s was very good.
Overall, Bandwagon is a casual setting, though slightly less so than Ale House. A T-shirt and jeans is perfectly acceptable attire for this place. The ambiance was full of activity, but it was not quite as loud as Ale House.
In general, the Ithaca Ale House is still the winner if you are looking for a pure burger-and-beer dinner in downtown Ithaca; the burger I had was the only one on Bandwagon’s menu. However, if you want a very good American restaurant in the Commons, then I would without a doubt suggest giving Bandwagon a try. As much as it pains me to say it, it has replaced Ale House as my favorite place on the Commons.
The verdict: The new favorite-est favorite place in downtown Ithaca